fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "million dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Barrister Mark Okoye." (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2011 19:30:20 +0200
Subject: Your earliest response to this letter will be appreciated via email@example.com
Attn: Call me urgent on +2348166549663.
I am Barrister Mark Okoye, a Solicitor and an Advocate of the supreme court of Nigeria,I am the Personal Attorney to Engr. Bengt Andersson , a consultant with an oil company here in Nigeria. On the 20th of february 2005,my client and his wife were involved in an autocrash accident along portharcout/uyo Express Road.Unfortunately they lost their lives in the event of theaccident, Since then I have made several contacts as to locate any of his extended relatives, but all proved abortive.hence I decided to contact you.
I am contacting you to assist in retrieving the money valued at about(US$10.5m) that was left behind by my client with the Spring Bank of nigeria plc, before it gets confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank. Conseqently,The bank issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have the account confiscated within the next ten official working days. since I have been unsuccesfull in locating the relatives for over 3 yearsnow, I hereby seek your consent to act as the next of kin to the deceased so that the proceeds of this account valued at (US$10.5 million dollars) can be paid to you and then you and I can share the money 50% 50%.
I have worked out a procedure that will ensure success, and as a lawyer, I will ensure that all our actions are within the confines of the law. Should you be interested please, P.s. furnish me with your most direct tel and cell phone numbers for oral conversation after which I will provide you with more details of this transaction and how to proceed.
Your earliest response to this letter will be appreciated via firstname.lastname@example.org
Barrister Mark Okoye.
Attorney at Law